Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Conference report: MOOCs and flexible learning #sheftess15

In my third post about the University of Sheffield Faculty of Social Sciences learning and teaching conference (that I attended on 19 March), I’ll cover my own presentation and say something briefly about two others in the session. Marie Kinsey (School of Journalism) talked about Mixing it up with MOOCs, in which she described the progress of of Futurelearn (of which University of Sheffield is a member), highlighted Sheffield’s MOOC activities (she also played this cool trailer for the forthcoming How to write your first song MOOC) and identified the value of MOOCs to the University of Sheffield (e.g. providing evidence of research impact).
Julia Davies (School of Education) and Ros Walker talked about Going the distance: working with remote learners. I liked the fact that they used the term flexible learning, identifying that there are many ways of engaging with learning at a distance. They also highlighted Gilly Salmon's 5 stage model of online learning, as described here:

Finally, I gave a short talk called: Futurelearning! Reflections on teaching in a Futurelearn play MOOC (the theme for the whole conference was “Futurelearning”, by the way). This is embedded below. In this talk I took three frameworks for analysing the teaching-learning environment and reflected on the Exploring Play MOOC in which I was an educator and (as a contrast) the core module Information Literacy on a campus based programme. The three frameworks were: Entwistle et al’s (2004) map of the teaching-learning environment (which I find useful when thinking about learning design and the different factors which impact on it); Conole’s (2014) 12 dimensions of MOOCs (the analysis for this was on a separate handout, but I list the dimensions in the ppt) and Sharpe et al’s (2006) dimensions of blended learning. For me, they each provide a useful lens for reflecting on what kind of learning and teaching is happening.


Conole, G. (2014). A 12-Dimensional classification schema for MOOCs.
Entwistle, N., Nisbet, J. and Bromage, A. (2004). Teaching-learning environments and student learning in electronic engineering: paper presented at Third Workshop of the European Network on Powerful Learning Environments, in Brugge, September 30 – October 2, 2004.
Sharpe, R. et al. (2006). The undergraduate experience of blended e-learning: a review of UK literature and practice. York: HEA.

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